The wind was howling today but it seemed to blow away the rain. The trees weren’t exactly bending but the leaves were rustling and you knew that winter’s encroaching army was at our borders and about to invade from the north. There were ice galleons, freezing machines, storm waves, bitter fingers, the chattering teeth of black-eyed beasts. There were frost dogs lurking in the falling leaves and the trees themselves were changing sides as they went from flourishing soft-eyed benevolent giants to bare, spikey, undressed, harsh, raw, skeletal ghouls towering over the landscape, once friend, now foe. Once protection for the animals, the birds and the insects now a naked petrified monster. Once a place where children climbed sitting amongst the leaves on the boughs, now cowering, running in fear as they uproot and chase down stumbling frightened men and women, flanked by ice spears and groaning mountain blizzards.
It seemed normal outside, it seemed normal inside too, we completed three more vocals with Ahad as the day came to a close and we continued with our regular schedule – eating Quorn, watching Californians in Space and earlier for me swimming a mile, today in record time. But with the virus stories everywhere in the world, doubting leaders falling sick, England and Wales falling out of Europe, taking Northern Ireland with them, Scotland fighting to stay. It’s what we call the new normal and one wonders how we can get on with our lives despite the anxiety that surrounds us.
There was the sound of branches brushing against the window. At first, it was soft and then it was banging as if the beasts were attempting to break through the glass and then it stopped. There was silence and the silence was worse than the banging. The silence creates fear because the imagination becomes acute. In the battle there’s no time to consider what might happen, it’s already happening. The longer the silence the more active the imagination and although the banging didn’t return the fear that it might creates a small rip.
It started as a slight line that seemed to hover in the archive, just above the Funk and R&B section. As the crack, in reality, began to grow and distort the room, I was sure I heard the distant sounds of a fuzzy guitar and a grooving bass, the steady beat of drums. The guitar was peeling off the notes, the singer had a deep tone, melodic and sensuous. Suddenly the slit widened and here in the room was a window that revealed a stage and on that stage was Sly and the Family Stone performing from the past, from the Fillmore East this month, tomorrow in 1968. You could see the beads of sweat on Sly’s forehead and feel the rumble of Larry Graham’s bass, the steady feel of Greg Errico’s beat. Cynthia Robinson held her trumpet and Jerry Martini his sax by their sides like Sci-Fi weapons and Freddie and Rose heads down and vibing as Sly sang I Want To Take You Higher – our fear was unfounded, the only invasion was the steady forward march of music.
Thanks to everyone that took the opportunity to get a copy of the first MOAT album via Bandcamp and/or purchase some digital versions of the back catalogue. This as we prepare for the next MOAT song from the Poison Stream album, Acid Rain, to be unleashed into the universe on Wednesday, October 7th. An Indiegogo campaign begins on the same day so you can preorder and help us manufacture, promote and recoup the investment – so we can do it again with another project. Also, it’s great to see all the pictures of Nightjar from Record Store Day, in your trees, in your pets’ baskets and even on your turntables. Thank you for finding it, buying and taking a pic and putting it somewhere where we could extract it for the gallery. I’m also hoping that you may be listening to it.
An interesting record came through the post today. Coloursound, the collaboration between Billy Duffy from The Cult and Mike Peters from The Alarm, originally released in 1999. The other day the latest Skids album arrived, Peaceful Times (2019), along with Bill Fay’s Countless Branches (2020). All vinyl, so many records, so little time.
Music today is, of course, Sly and the Family Stone and their great double Greatest Hits Anthology album released on Epic in 1981, an absolute must-have for your record collection. Then there’s the 2015 Record Store Day double album, Live At The Fillmore East from 1968.